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St Leger Day 'doggerel' has no bearing on investors

St Leger Day 'doggerel' has no bearing on investors

Investors stayed calm over summer and did not buy into the equity markets in their droves at the start of autumn, making the old St Leger Day adage little more than "doggerel", according to advisers and economists. 

In a poll taken for FTAdviser Advantage, financial advisers said their clients had not sold out in May with the intention of returning to the investment markets on St Leger Day (15 September).

Instead, according to respondents, 40 per cent of clients became more nervous about markets in September than they had been a few months previously.

Moreover, 30 per cent of clients held their nerve, rather than selling out and jumping back in. 

Back in May, wealth adviser Seven Investment Management warned investors following the old recommendation of ‘Sell in May and go away, don’t come back till St Leger’s Day’ could be losing thousands of pounds.

For several years, investment specialists have warned about following old rule-of-thumb investment theories instead of paying close attention to investment fundamentals.

For Alastair Winter, chief economist for wealth adviser Daniel Stewart, wariness over mass buying in September may instead prove more wise, with poor performance from equity markets in the past "silencing all the wiseacres with their doggerel about St Leger’s Day."

The old saying dates back to the days when senior traders liked to head off for the London summer social season, followed by long overseas holidays.

Traditionally, volumes fell and prices weakened during this period, not picking up until after the second week in September.

However, in both September 2014 and September 2015, markets were generally poor, with some companies reporting disappointing results. 

This September, economists at Morningstar warned over excessively high valuations in equity markets, especially those in the US, suggesting a market correction is on its way.

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com